Monday, March 9, 2009

New Sweets

In this section , food dramatically shifts from subject to medium. This is not uncommon as modernism encourages artists to seek an affective narrative, often in pursuit of political goals or statements about personal victim-hood. Glass, garbage, lard, raw meat and chicken skins, bodily fluids have all appeared. Here we find a chocolate room, carmelized sculptures and a 1200 lb. pile of candy.

William Eggleston (Memphis, TN, 1939), Spun Candy, 25 cents (photo), 1965-74
Following in the artistic footsteps of Walker Evans (1903-1975), Eggleston travels throughout the Southeast and documents vernacular architecture and the manner in which people relate to these structures.

Derek Boisher (Britain, 1937), Pepsi Sunset (Gouache on paper), 1962. One of the earliest Pop artists, beginning in 1961.

Tom Friedman (born 1965, St.Louis, MO) Tootsie Roll (wrapper), 2004. He creates conceptual sculpture, using everyday objects and materials as varied as aspirin and chewing gum. Focusing here on the candy wrapper shifts the emphasis from food and taste to commodity status.

Robert Tynes (Chicago, 1953) Pearadoxical Ramaifications, 2005. Tynes paints contemporary tromp d'oeil, the old technique of detailed and ultra realistic images. His work might be compared to David Ligare, below. However, Tynes renders 2-dimensional paintings on board (making them technically 3-dimensional art objects). Some works extend outside the traditional rectangular "frame" and further challenges the notion (which was rampant in the 1950s) that art must be flat, and within frames. He explains:

Through the use of illusion, the work conveys both a sense of mystery
and humor, and reflects my longtime interests in Surrealism and the
psychology of perception.

Ed Ruscha (Omaha, 1937) Chocolate Room (Installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles,CA), 1970 (360 sheets of paper silk-screened with chocolate). Chocolate Room created huge attention and controversy when it debuted at the Venice Biennial in 1970.

Installation uses sculptural materials or merely found objects to fill a prescribed space. In this sense, the space is the artist's "canvas." It is usually room-size, but it could be as large as New York's Central Park. In such cases they are often termed "site-specific." Installations carry elements of minimalism and tend to be ephemeral. Food, therefore, is a suitable and daring medium to make a provocative statement.

Gay Outlaw (born Mobile, AL, 1959) Caramel Planks, 1996 (Installation, caramelized sugar and bristles)

Blow: Gay Outlaw, Honeycomb, 1999 (Installation, caramelized sugar)

Michal Shamir (born Tel Aviv, Israel, 1957) Candy Curtain and Ox, 2003 Shamir combines elements and sends confusing messages about form and expectations of taste. Ox suggests a hanging side of meat but both it and Curtain are made largely from gummy candy.

Wayne Thiebaud (born Arizona, 1920) Pies, 1971

Thiebaud teaches painting in California and has long been associated with two styles, his vertically oriented urban Bay Area city-scapes and his food images. In the latter, his subjects appear to have a buttery surface and a texture created by lush brushstrokes. The pastel confection-images leave the viewer titilated.

Sharon Core, Bake Counter, 2001
Core creates "appropriated art. She constructs a 3-dimensional sculpture of a Thiebaud painting, fills it with her baked pastries, photographs it and claims it as her own art. She explains:

There is a long tradition of artist paying mimetic hommage to their
predecessors. Early on in western traditions, it has been standard practice for young artists to "copy" the masters to learn and build on their art historical

Martin Parr (England, 1952) Parr's long photo study of Britain's tourist trade and consumerism (mostly foods) is titled Last Resorts:Photography of New Brighton (1983-1986. Published by Dewi Lewis Publishing, 1986), with a text written by Ian Walker. His style is documentary with a touch of satire.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres (Cuba, 1957-1996) Untitled (Placebo), (1993, Installation of wrapped candy) The Williams College Museum, where it was explained

A 1200 pound mass of candies, each individually wrapped in shiny silver cellophane and arranged into a soft-edged rectangle sparkles in the middle of an otherwise barren and dimly lit gallery. Viewers are encouraged to eat the candy on the spot. A perfect example of interactive art and minimalism.

No comments: